iPhone and iPad owners had quite the busy end to 2019.
Apple customers spent $1.42 billion on apps between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a 16% jump from 2018, Apple said Wednesday. On New Year’s Day alone, the company said it set a single-day sales record of $386 million for apps, an annual increase of 20%.
App developers have earned more than $155 billion since the App Store opened in 2008, the company noted in a statement.
For iPhone users, the hottest free apps were YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook Messenger. In paid apps, the top performer was Facetune, a photo editing app for iOS or Android phones, followed by employee scheduling app HotSchedules and the DarkSky weather forecast app.
For gamers, “Mario Kart Tour,” “Call of Duty: Mobile” and “Fortnite” made the list of top 10 free games. Mobile games like “Minecraft,” “Color Bump 3D” and “Stardew Valley” were some of the top 10 paid games.
It’s becoming more common for people to spend big on apps and for app developers to build in new ways to get paid. Overall, in 2019, Apple’s App Store brought in $54.2 billion in sales, up 16.3% from the year prior, and Android users on Google Play spent $29.3 billion, an increase over 2018 of 18.1%, according to data tracker Sensor Tower. Google did not immediately return a request for comment. Apple did not provide App Store sales in its press release.
“Consumers are spending more in general in apps,” said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower. “More apps are discovering the ability to monetize more effectively, which is bolstering the stores’ bottom lines.”
Apple said Wednesday that since 2008, developers have earned over $155 billion, and a quarter of those earnings came from 2019 alone. That’s after Apple has taken its cut of between 15% and 30% of app sales.
Last year, Apple started to go all-in on services. In 2019 it launched a gaming subscription service called Apple Arcade, a news offering called Apple News+, its own Apple+ TV service and even expanded its financial services with an Apple-branded credit card.
“2019 was the biggest year for services in Apple’s history,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, in a statement. “We introduced several exciting new experiences for our customers, all while setting the standard for user privacy and security.”
Wednesday’s news was sparse on details of how many users actually play Arcade, own an Apple Card or tune into Apple TV+. Apple did say over 100 million monthly active users in the US, UK, Australia and Canada read Apple News, but that figure includes anyone visiting the platform for free.